McGinn Does Wittgenstein

Is it bad if your favorite philosophy comes in aphorism form? This is why I've always enjoyed Wittgenstein: his writing has the density of plutonium, since it's just pre-digested quotes. I can read it without having to remember what anomalous monism is. Now Colin McGinn, who's one of my favorite philosophers of mind, has entered the blogosphere. One of his first posts is a list of 79 meditations on laws, causality and the nature of reality. And if you find consciousness studies interesting, be sure to check out The Mysterious Flame, which practically invented new mysterianism.

14. Could God create the laws? Only if he was already governed by laws, and then they would be the true creators. God as the "first cause": but the laws that define him are the real causal basis of his actions. Laws are really the first cause, the origin of all causality. "Nomologicism": objects are to laws as mathematics is to logic (roughly). The mathematical objects sprout from logical roots, as natural objects owe their nature to the laws. (Is this a type of reductionism?)

71. Physics has the best laws. Why? The natural mysticism of physicists--is it their proximity to the most basic laws? How does a physicist look at the universe? As if the particular were just a symptom of a more general order. Physicists look at the world with two pairs of eyes. The physical insignificance of the particular. Laws as reasons (the word is not wrongly used here): once you know the reason for things, the reason stands out from the things. Laws belong in the intellectual foreground.

79. We must try to speak of what we often pass over in silence.

And if philosophical aphorisms aren't your thing, McGinn also promises to blog about paddle-boarding.

Hat tip: Neurophilosophy


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Hi Jonah, interesting new blog you've referred me to, thanks; but if (re 14) the laws governing God would be the true creators, then were the rules of English the true creators of that reference? (Maybe I should be thanking them, then:)

pre-digested? Good luck understanding it.